The Rundown: Javy Just Wants to Have Fun, Cubs Narrowly Escape Hotel Crime Scene, Szczur Trade Rumor

“We do a great job playing and having fun out there,” Javier Baez, fresh off of Puerto Rico’s WBC run, said Saturday. “That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. But, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

Darn right, he does. That free-wheeling attitude was on full display over the course of the recently-concluded international competition, but don’t expect Javy to tone it down just because he’s back with the Cubs.

And before you go pulling back the drapes to make sure no one’s stepping foot onto your lawn, you can stop worrying about him laying down another no-look tag. In fact, he didn’t even know he was doing it the first time.

“To be honest, I didn’t know I did that until after the game,” Baez admitted.

Actually, now that I think about it, that might not necessarily be the best evidence for the defense in the case of The Right Way vs. Ednel Javier Baez. I mean, if he didn’t even know he was doing it, what’s to stop him from further offending the pearl-clutching sensibilities of those who say this game needs to be taken seriously.

The thing you have to understand here is that the WBC is not the same thing as MLB, though the latter could certainly learn from the former. Think of it like the way Olympic skating had (still has?) a freestyle portion of the competition. I don’t think they do these days, but I have to plead ignorance.

In any case, that was my favorite part of what was otherwise a very staid and rigorously scored competition. Performers were allowed to show emotion and personality, the music was more contemporary, they were doing backflips and other acrobatic stunts and in general just…having fun. Huh, sounds familiar.

My point here is that we’re talking about an entirely different schema or paradigm for the players — particularly those from Latin and Asian nations — participating in the Classic versus the Show. One need look no further than Javy’s hair to understand the fundamental differences between the two events. Yes, his hair.

“No, I’m going to cut it soon,” Baez said when asked about keeping his blond locks (a theme among the Puerto Rican players and fans). “Or dye it back black.”

Perhaps if Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had been traditionalist baseball fans, they’d have written: I see the blond hair and I want to dye it black.

Um, yeah, not sure how I can walk that one back. But maybe I don’t need to. And Javy doesn’t need to either, though we’re going to see him playing in a slightly more reserved manner simply because of the different framework within which he’s operating. Make no mistake, he’s still going to be collecting plenty of tickets from the fun police this season.

What happens in Vegas…can be scary as hell

About a month before I was going to be headed out to The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas last year, I saw on Twitter that the pool area and much of the building’s facade was bathed in black smoke. A plastic tree had caught fire, causing a little damage that ended up looking a lot worse than it really was.

The Cubs are staying at the same hotel during their weekend set in Sin City, but it was significantly more immediate and much more grave than my experience. The team barely got loaded up and off to Cashman Field before police locked down the building in response to a shooting and subsequent four-hour standoff that left one dead and another injured.

This is some scary isht and I’m kind of amazed the Cubs were able to light it up the way they did Saturday afternoon. In actuality, though, the fallout from the event might have left them more relieved than anything. Because of the nature of the quick trip, not nearly as many family members were in tow, which means less immediate fear once the team buses got out of there.

Baseball may be fun, but life can be way too serious at times.

Szczur rumors persist

If you missed it yesterday, I wrote about how Joe Maddon’s comments made it seem as though Matt Szczur was destined for the roster and Tommy La Stella for AAA. Then I wrote about a Mark Gonzales report that had the Cubs actively shopping Szczur.

I don’t want to be totally click-bait-y, but I don’t want to give away all of my salient points either, which puts me in a tough spot. Let’s just say it’s a fluid situation and that the Cubs are in a position of strength and don’t need to make a move out of necessity.

When it comes to pure speculation, I will offer just one conspiratorial nugget. The Cubs may have opted not to bring their backup outfielder to Vegas in order to ease his transition should a trade come to fruition. Or maybe it was just because he refused to stay anywhere other than Szczur’s Palace.

More news and notes

  • The Cubs hit a bunch of home runs Saturday, several in a lightning round in which Chesny “Chesaroo” Young (video), Kris Bryant (video), Jason Heyward (video), and Ian Happ (video) went yard in a space of about 10 minutes across both split-squad games.
  • Pokemon is apparently a big deal in the Cubs clubhouse.
  • Not much more news today; between IU hiring Archie Miller and various other family-related activities, I was somewhat occupied.
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